Saratoga County supervisors on Tuesday authorized $5.5 million in borrowing to install a large new granulated carbon filtration system at the county water treatment plant in Moreau.
The system, which will be in its own building, will filter out organic materials that have led to intermittent problems with high levels of potentially harmful chlorination by-products in the water.
“This is going to be the permanent solution,” said county Water Authority Vice Chairwoman Anita M. Daly, R-Clifton Park.
Supervisors had to approve the borrowing as the elected body that oversees the water authority.
There have been two episodes since 2011 of chemical by-products in the authority’s water exceeding the federal standard of 60 parts per billion. The towns of Clifton Park and Ballston stopped buying water last fall because of the problem, though they resumed purchases this spring after a temporary filtration system was installed.
The problem with high levels of chemicals occurs most often during the summer, when there are more organic materials in water the authority draws from the Hudson River. Those materials have a chemical reaction with the chlorine used to disinfect the water, creating the chemical compounds.
With the borrowing approved by the Board of Supervisors at a meeting Tuesday in Ballston Spa, authority Chairman John E. Lawler, R-Waterford, said construction bids may be awarded at an authority meeting Thursday.
“The project will be underway in October,” Lawler said. “This resolves the disinfection by-product issue.”
Lawler said the temporary carbon filter used this summer in Ballston totally eliminated the problem, proving a larger version of the filter will work at the water treatment plant.
The new filtration system should be finished by spring. Lawler hopes its existence will help the authority land more customers.
The authority, which began operating in 2010, sells about four million gallons per day of water to the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant and six municipal customers. The authority is also negotiating with two more potential customers, the towns of Stillwater and Greenfield.
The authority is also planning to install a pipe at the treatment plant that will return filtration wastewater to the Hudson.
That project is being financed separately with a $1 million grant-loan package from the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency.
The board also appointed Stillwater resident James Smith to the water authority board, replacing Stillwater town Supervisor Edward Kinowski, who resigned because of other commitments.